Friday, June 02, 2017

Before the Era of Dog Shows....

From Rawdon Lee, The Fox Terrier, circa 1902:
Our old terriers, before the era of dog shows, were strong and healthy, perhaps even more so than they are now; at any rate they were not pampered pets, as many are to-day; and they were only kept because they were muscular, hardy, and game. The delicate and puny were consigned to the water barrel, the canal, or to the tan pit ; there was no demand for them because of their long pedigree and aristocratic connections, for they had neither.

Nowadays, so long as a terrier is elegant in form, pleasant in face, and well-bred, he is worth keeping; and, however delicate his constitution may be, should he prove good enough to win prizes, he is used at the stud, and so transmits his "blue blood'' and delicacy to further generations. The former is well enough, the latter bad enough, and it is because of this carelessness in mating that so few modern terriers are as hardy in appearance as the two ferocious-looking mongrels in the "tail-piece" below.

Eh? Ferocious looking mongrels? They appear to be nothing more than working fell terriers, albeit rather large ones with massive chests, and entering a hole the size of a bear den.

Welcome to dog book illustrations, where owning a dog is not required to put pen to paper.

Of course, the same can be said for those writing dog books!

Rawdon Lee, for example, has written a book on Fox Terriers, but he himself does not appear to dig himself.

A close read of this 300-page book (available here as a complete PDF from reads like the begats section of the Bible. What's that about?

It finally occurred to me: the more people and dogs you name in your book, the more books you are going to sell! Some business model!

Did I mention that I talked all about you in American Working Terriers? True! Oh the stories I told about your dogs and their many wins in the show ring. Check it out.

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